Ed & Lerry’s Grateful Dead Tour Journal: 11/30/73

November 30, 1973
Venue:Boston Music Hall
Show Details

Ed: Another great overall performance by the band, but given that the second set was anchored again by a Bobby Weather song, I don’t think I can give this show the much-coveted steal your face award in good conscience. A few comments:

  • Morning Dew opener = NICE! I wonder what made them want to open with this?
  • Another stand alone baguette Playin’, which I thought kicked ass. One thing: listening to the matrix version of Playin’ – thought it was interesting that the audience was trying to clap along to the beginning part, I never really thought of the dead as a band that you clap along to (well, besides not fade away) – Auds Are The Truth!
  • Here Comes Sunshine was superb. I think this is the best so far? I feel like I say that every show, but this time I mean it. It really jammed.
  • The brief Dark Star jam was good, but couldn’t compensate for the Weather.

Side note:
This reviewer brings up something I didn’t realize until right now – Donna has been absent for this whole tour:
“Reviewer: Donna_Sucked and We All Know It
Subject: A Good Release
This whole tour is fantastic, as we don’t have to suffer through Donna. I saw over 330 shows, around 80 from ’72-’79 and she simply could not sing live. Major pitch problems plus she couldn’t hear so she screamed. In the studio she was fine. The band knew it, she knew it. They are just the kings of procrastination and they won’t confront anything ever. So we had to put up with her for 7 years. Sweet lady, but can’t sing a lick on stage.”

To me, this does feel like the best tour the dead ever had so far, but I’m not sure I would credit that to the fact that donna is absent. I would consciously say it’s more a coincidence, but maybe subconsciously I’m actually a Donna hater? Or maybe I am kind of more like this guy:
“Reviewer: Dylan M
Subject: Second Set Jam
The entire show is without Donna who was apparently too pregnant to perform. I am not a complete Donna “hater” though I do appreciate hearing a classic 73′ Primo Era classic with her absent. Vocally the boys take care of all the duties well without her. Nice rare circumstance.”

Lerry: Man, this is a great show, marred by some lame song choices. (Side note, imagine if Wake of the Flood (which this tour was supported) consisted of the songs I included in my email re: the Dead as songwriters (editor’s note: see below). There would be no real duds!)  Regardless, it is great to be back on tour.  Overall, I would not give it the Stealie due to the setlist.

One brief correction to your notes… Donna was only gone from this show on.  (I believe she missed the last 10 shows of this tour) but was howlin’ away on the other shows. Yeahuhyeaheaheaheaheahuhhh!  With that being said, it is pretty cool to hear only Bobby and Jerry doing the harmonies. I hope the rest of this tour does not turn me into a Donna hater. Those guys are lame.

Set 1: I agree with your assessment of Morning Dew. Such a killer opener. Jerry sounds awesome too.  I like how in 73 Dire Wolf was played fairly often.  It is so much less offensive to me than some of the short Bobby songs (Race, etc.).  As I mentioned previously, I like the They Love Each Other vibe during this era. I’m not sure when it slowed down (76 possibly?) but these versions almost had a China Cat groove, which is perfect for the middle of set 1.  I totally agree about the Playin’ baguette.   Sometimes, I’d actually rather they just stick with something like this and not try to shoehorn other songs in.  (When it works, I love it, but sometimes the band is too hesitant and clumsy getting from song A to song B, per our disagreement from 11-17… again, my problem.)  Jerry is doing some really cool stuff in the jam.  I was hoping Bobby would give us a Playin’ howl in Donna’s absence, but it was nice to just hear the band jam back into the chorus.

Set 2: This is where the show lets me down a bit.   I don’t think I like Jack Straw in the second set very much.  On an earlier show on the tour, I thought to myself that it was the perfect tempo for Jerry to really get warmed up and rippin’ early in set 1. Here comes Sunshine was fantastic. Perhaps best yet?  In fact, when I look back at the tour thus far, one thing that has come of it is a new appreciation for this track.  (At the end of the tour, we really have to nail down our favorite version.)  The jammy section is awesome here.  But man, I just can’t do the Weather Report Suite.  Let it Grow is especially bad.  (All I can think as I listen to it was that, while most Deadheads say that they think it is great, if they were told that it was a song by the band Yes, they’d say it was crap.)  I’ll give a good listen to Dark Star any day, however, Let it Grow right into Dark Star just feels like I am putting my shoes on backwards.  They don’t fit and make me uncomfortable and wish that something else was going down. Perhaps I am too rigid and square, but I can’t help it.  (Once again, it is my problem, not yours.) Also, I’m not sure if you noticed this, but the heads reviewing this show went on and on about the Eyes jam.  It was good, but not my cup of tea… It was sort of nice to not hear Donna howling “sunshine daydream” at the end of Magnolia.  Man, I’m not going to be a hater.

Favorite quote.
“This AUD is harsh, jangly, crowd-heavy, bassless and often hard to listen to, but it’s worth it to be able to listen to in your car. At home, stream the matrix version, which is to die for soundwise.” (LERRY ‘S COMMENT– I’m not sure why, if you have access to both as the reviewer obviously does, would you not want the good sounding one for your car?)

Next post: the Grateful Dead as Songwriters

Previous show: 11/25/73 Grateful Dead

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